John and Jacqueline Hall Kelly share their first impressions of each other, advice for a long-lasting relationship, and their favorite ways to get involved in the community.
What was your first impression of your partner?
Jacqueline: He was quiet.
John: She was beautiful and always impeccably dressed in colorful Afro-centric attire.
How did you meet?
Jacqueline: I asked my friend if she knew of a guy who was single, college-educated, had “good” basic values, and who was good looking. Immediately, she responded: “As a matter of fact, I do.” She invited us to her apartment for dinner so we could meet. And the rest is history.
John: Our friends introduced us. We had dinner at their apartment.
How long have you been together?
John & Jacqueline: We have been married for 48 years.
What is your favorite activity to do together?
John & Jacqueline: We love the “We Always Swing” jazz concerts. We attend several performances every year.
What is your favorite way to get involved with the community together?
Jacqueline: Our favorite way to get involved with the community is volunteering during the Heritage Festival for the Boone County Historical Society.
What is the best quality of your partner?
Jacqueline: The best quality about my husband is that he reads extensively. Equally impressive is that he always remembers special occasions such as my birthday, Valentine’s Day, and our wedding anniversary.
John: She loves learning. We both read a lot. We share our findings and have great discussions on current events, history, sports, and pop culture.
What’s your go-to date night spot? What do you order?
John & Jacqueline: Murry’s. We both order catfish sandwiches and dinner salads.
What keeps you busy during the week?
Jacqueline: During a typical week, I am busy reading, power walking, gardening, and cooking for my 96-year-old mother-in-law. Other activities in which I am involved, particularly pre-pandemic, include book clubs, the ExecMBA program in the MU College of Business, the Daniel Boone Regional Library Foundation, and the personnel advisory board for the City of Columbia. During the normal academic school year, I mentored international students in the MBA program and invited them as guests to our home for formal Thanksgiving dinners.
John: I am the caregiver for my 96-year-old mother.
What is the key to a long-lasting relationship?
Jacqueline: The key to a long-lasting relationship is giving your partner sufficient space to engage in activities they enjoy as well as doing activities you both enjoy together. I love traveling internationally and have visited most countries in the world. My husband, on the other hand, is equally passionate about sports, especially baseball. I am happy when he is happy doing what he enjoys. Life is too short to do otherwise.
What will the future hold for the two of you?
Jacqueline: Continue to stay physically fit, stay relevant, and give back to the community.
John: We want to continue to make meaningful contributions to the Columbia community by sharing our resources, time, and knowledge where they are needed.
What is unique about your relationship?
Jacqueline: We both worked hard to get an education and come from families with meager resources. For the most part, we’ve achieved the goals we established for ourselves.
What has been your favorite project to work on together?
Jacqueline: Our favorite project to work on together has been planning a program in Columbia to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Negro leagues baseball.
John: We love to do home improvement projects.